Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another birthday passes by

On August 14, I turned 27. I remember last year, I was feeling uncomfortable and jumpy about turning 26. However, this year I am very much enjoying the aging part. As long as I look and feel younger than my age, does anything else matter? :)

I did not have to go to work as I work only from Monday to Thursday. It was a nice day, well spent with family and I enjoyed every bit of it. For lunch we went to Moxie’s. If you ask me one restaurant where we have frequented the most, it would be Moxie’s. It is a nice fine dining place, where you get amazing steaks and service according to N. Whenever we are there, he orders the blackened New York steak and I order the chicken tenders tangi thai style. After I lost my job, we stopped going there. That itself is a big achievement staying away from the one restaurant we both love to go.

The server gave my favorite dessert ‘white chocolate brownie’ complimentary after knowing that it was my birthday. Check out the pictures.

In the evening we went to my dad’s place. He was having a barbecue to celebrate my birthday and that was really fun. Check out the picture.

Now coming to the most important part, which is the cake. I know this might sound a little odd but I baked my own birthday cake. It was a vanilla sponge cake with a butter cream frosting. Actually that cake was for my sister too since her birthday was on August 6. So there you see. :)

The cake came out well. Even the frosting part of it tuned out to be a success. I even decorated the cake. The credit for the sponge cake should actually go to Jenny field. Her emphasis on the creaming method really made a big difference, when it came to getting the moist and tender texture that melts in your mouth. A single slice was so light that I did not even feel conscious of having such a big piece. And the credit for the success of the frosting should go to Ashley. Her upside down frosting technique really made the cake look professional. However, I guess the cake shifted and lost a little bit of the decoration on transit from my place to my dad's. Check out the picture.
I wish I had a better picture to post. After all that work on the cake, I was exhausted and forgot to take any pictures.

It took me long hours to have the cake ready but everyone loved the cake and I was showered with compliments. Well, who does not like compliments? :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A much awaited wish comes true!

I actually had this earnest wish for 6 years now. To donate blood! And I finally did it. It was a joyous occasion for me. I was proud of myself. I will let you know why. :)

It all started when I was doing my MBA. There was a blood donation camp happening in Bangalore at that time. I read about it and was intrigued when I came to know that they were coming to our college. So the camp members had a session with our batch and after their speech I got really into it. Hearing about the number of people especially children, who die due to the scarcity of blood in the blood bank really pushed me. I called groups of students and motivated all of them to volunteer for blood donation. I made all of them sign up and stand in the long queue for the donation. In fact, the seniors also were there right next to our batchmates.

It was a satisfying experience until my turn came up. A nurse pricked my thumb for checking the haemoglobin level and she rejected me. I asked for the reason and was told that my haemoglobin level was below the normal level and that it is the basic criteria for eligibility. I could feel all the stares on me since I was the enthusiastic one who got them to sign up in the first place. I requested the nurse to anyway take my blood. She said that if I donate then I would have to be immediately given blood. :) So I left the queue sad and could hear some people laughing.

It is all history now as I successfully donated blood on Thursday and this time I had the required haemoglobin level. After all, the constant effort of eating healthy, especially increasing the iron content in my food paid off. I had seen the clinic on my way back home from office while walking towards the subway. I had just joined work on Tuesday. I was still getting to know the area. One look at the clinic and like a reflex action, I entered the clinic and signed up for donating blood on Thursday.

When the nurse was checking my haemoglobin levels, I was kind of nervous but that's because I was thinking about what happened the last time I tried donating blood. However, she approved my application and I was very happy. After that everything moved fast. All the formalities of form signing, interview on disease got over. The needle was kind of unusually big and the nurse did say that it is bigger than my vein. Ok let me word it better. The vein she found on my hand was small. :)

I was so ecstatic that I did not even feel any pain. After all, I was finally donating blood.

After about 12 minutes, she said its over. I never knew she literally meant it. It seems no more blood was coming since it was a small vein. The nurse said I had no reason to worry since they had collected enough blood for a child. Only enough for a kid? I felt sad and disappointed for just a moment after which I thought at least I did it.

It took me so long but I finally did it. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

I am back to work finally!

There is some positive news from my end. I got the internship finally. And that too the at the broadcasting company I was very interested in working. I joined last Tuesday and I am enjoying every bit of the new work environment. It is so different from the previous company I worked for and I am already finding this job an enriching experience. I have to take a 45 minute subway ride and then a 10 minute walk to reach the office as opposed to the short 15 minute walk in my previous job. Although the travel time is kind of exhausting, I try and engage myself playing Sudoku or reading the newspaper. Sometimes, I just observe people. There is so much you can observe in terms of new fashion clothes, accessories, shoes and even people. :)

At around 3pm everyday, I feel sleepy at office. :) Looks like I am yet to get adjusted to working again! I never imagined this would happen. Partly the reason could be my current routine of waking up at 6.15a.m, which is very early compared to my previous timings. I hope I get used to it soon enough.

Hmm, I am feeling sleepy now. Well you see, I am trying to get into the routine of sleeping early too. So, I am off for my sweet slumber.

Till next time, take care and have fun.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Colors and costumes like never before!

Yesterday I witnessed the effervescent Toronto Caribana parade. It was a colorful celebration of the Caribbean music, dance, costumes and food in every way. Pumping music, colorful floats, spectacular costumes and the dancing made this parade totally unique. Some costumes were so heavy and elaborate that they had wheels to move. A number of trucks in the parade carried calypso artists with live soca music, blaring from the speakers. Even the non-Caribbean people regardless of color and race, were in the parade showcasing this festival as a unique part of Toronto’s culture. The costumes were so beautiful that I felt it was worth every effort it took N and me to reach the Lake Shore area with the kind of crowd present there. Approximately 1 million!

The parade started in the morning at 10am and was set to complete its run by 6pm. It seems the people stayed back and watched till 3pm. After that thousands of people had enough and jumped the fence to really enjoy the parade in true Caribana style. Wait a minute! Yeah you heard me right. The masses would jump the fence, dance and follow the floats and costumes like as if they are a part of the parade. It took me a while to digest watching people jumping the 8 feet fence. To me, it was mayhem! The whole atmosphere and experience was something different but enjoyable too.

We tried the food and I actually liked it. Ali’s doubles (puri and channa) were my favorite though I also liked the jerk chicken from the Jerk House. Later, I took pictures with some of the dancers in costumes while they were enjoying the cool breeze near Lake Ontario. It was a hot sunny day, which made some of the dancers in costumes tired by the time they reached Lake Shore Blvd. We left at 6pm and on the way back, all tired and weary, I thought I should go for the parade next year too. : )

Check out the pictures.

Through the fence a first look...

I liked this costume a lot. So much blue!

And look at the number of people jumping in the parade. :)

That's me with the hat trying hard to get a glimpse...

The dancers all tired but happy to pose...

The live Calypso singers with their band...

Another eloborate costume...Picture courtesy CTV news

Picture courtesy: CTV news